Emilio was loved by everyone, if you use the term “everyone” very loosely. What wasn’t there to like about him? He had style, wit, and a charm about him that couldn’t be matched. If he came to your party, you knew it was going to be a success. Naturally, he never spent a Friday or Saturday night alone. And on the other nights, he thought up ways to increase his ever bulging fortune.
It wasn’t that Emilio was a bad person. Or, rather, it’s not that he tried to be a bad person, but he just couldn’t help but feel superior to others. He looked down upon his fellow man, or even completely ignored his fellow man’s existence, which led him to accomplish things in ways that some people may consider unethical. But, why should he care about ethics when he could think that the end justifies the means? And his ends justified everything to him.
To Emilio, money was the answer to all problems in life, and who could blame him for thinking this way? Whenever there was an issue, he just threw money at it until it went away, and everything he didn’t want to think about eventually did go away. This made his life quite uncomplicated in this regard, as he had copious amounts of money for which to throw away. That, in turn, also made Emilio feel like a very generous individual.
At this point, Emilio was walking down the street, about to meet one of his friends for lunch, not to say that he had friends in the same sense that you or I do. They both had been dying to try this new, trendy place that everybody had been talking about. About a block away from the restaurant, he noticed a man begging for money. As sad as it was, he was feeling generous as he always did; he reached into his wallet and took out a fifty dollar bill, which he had to ask for specifically at the bank, as they normally gave out twenties. He placed the bill into the man’s dirty hat, and he continued on his way.
There came a voice from behind Emilio, immediately identified as the beggar’s, “I don’t want your money.”
Emilio was stunned, “What was that you said?” He must have heard incorrectly.
“Your money’s no good to me,” repeated the man.
Apparently the man was amazed at Emilio’s generous nature and, in his conscience, couldn’t bring himself to accept such a large amount. “No, no. I insist; you should take the money, even though it is a large amount. I want you to have it.”
“No, you don’t understand. I can’t take it,” added the beggar.
Now Emilio was officially confused. “You’re right; I don’t follow you.”
“As long as I have a conscience, I can’t accept money from you, knowing who you are. You look at me and think that I’m dirty, but my dirt washes off, unlike yours. Your foul money comes from the suffering and misery of others. It’s men like you who are slowly destroying the world,” His voice was getting louder and he was beginning to stand up. “So go, keep your filthy money, and look inside yourself, and ask yourself how you can live with yourself after you’ve become greed and corruption personified.”
The man threw the money onto the ground between them. They just stood, staring at each other, hatred in the beggar’s eyes and merely a look of shock on Emilio’s face. People passed by, pretending not to notice what was happening. One person looked a second time and spoke.
“Emilio!” it was Emilio’s friend, Xavier. “Hello there. Come on, I don’t have much time for lunch.”
Emilio looked at the hatred for a moment more then walked away with Xavier. They walked to the restaurant and were told there would be a thirty minute wait. Not wanting to think about this, Xavier threw some money at the problem and it went away. They were seated on the second floor, away from all the riff raff. The whole time, Emilio’s mind was elsewhere.
Xavier was very cheerful as he spoke. “…but, anyway, you’ll never believe what he said to me.” He saw that Emilio wasn't really paying attention. “Hey, hey, man. What’s the big deal?”
“That man, on the street. No one has ever talked to me like that before.”
“Ah, forget about him. He’s just a lousy bum. Besides, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s mad at you.”
Confusion in Emilio’s eyes once more. “Why do you say that? Because I’m better than him? Because I have everything, and he has nothing? Does he resent me for my success?”
Xavier laughed. “Well, I’m sure that could be a part of it. But, you know that company that you bought out recently? Rockwell enterprises?”
“Of course, how could I forget? I ran that company into the ground and made a cool eighty mill.”
“Well, that man used to work there.”
After lunch, Emilio went back to his office. Xavier told him not to worry about what one man like that, scum of the earth, thought. But in the back of his mind he couldn’t stop thinking that it wasn’t just one man; he’d done this countless times, and thousands upon thousands of men and women were affected. Emilio wanted this problem to go away, but it wasn’t something he could just throw money at. So, he felt it was better to stop thinking about it altogether, as he would never have to associate with these people if he so chose. But, for a small moment, Emilio realized what a monster he was.